Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course will provide students with psychological, sociological and linguistic perspectives on the acquisition of a second language, with particular emphasis on English as a Second/Foreign language.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2021.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the psychological and social processes underlying acquisition and use of a second language;

2. Recognise the contribution to SLA of prior linguistic knowledge ("transfer" from native language; linguistic universals);

3. Identify and classify learner errors and evaluate the significance of errors;

4. Recognise the major theoretical positions in SLA;

5. Critically appraise relevant literature and formulate and effectively communicate own ideas.


Topics to be covered include:

  • The learning process - theories of language learning; differences between first and second language learning
  • The learning environment - sociolinguistic factors affecting language acquisition
  • What makes a "good" language learner - psychological, attitudinal and maturational factors; Krashen's "monitor"; the "critical period" hypothesis
  • The input - role of linguistic universals, first language, target language
  • The nature of the output - approximation to target (error analysis) vs developing system (interlanguage); acquisition order, development stages

Assumed knowledge

Foundations of Linguistics (LING6910) or equivalent.

Assessment items

Professional Task: Error Analysis (20%)

Presentation: Audio-Visual Presentation (40%)

Essay: Written Assignment (40%)

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.